America’s Richest (and Poorest) States

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40. North Carolina
> Median household income:
$46,556
> Population: 9,943,964 (9th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.1% (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 17.2% (12th highest)

North Carolina’s median household income in 2014 remained unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The typical North Carolina household earned $46,556 last year, below the national median of $53,657. However, state residents may be better off than other states with similar incomes. North Carolina’s cost of living was roughly 8% lower than the national cost of living. Nevertheless, poverty was also a major problem. At 17.2%, North Carolina had the 12th highest poverty rate in the country last year. The poverty rate was improved from 2013, where 17.9% lived below the poverty line.

39. Florida
> Median household income:
$47,463
> Population: 19,893,297 (3rd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.3% (21st highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.5% (16th highest)

Florida’s median household income in 2014 remained mostly unchanged from 2013, reflecting little improvement in the residents’ standard of living. The typical Florida household earned $47,463 last year, well below the national median of $53,657. Like in many of the states with lower median incomes, poverty was also a major problem. Florida had the 16th highest poverty rate in the country last year, at 16.5%. Additionally, nearly 12% homes were valued at less than $50,000, the 21st highest rate in the country of homes valued so low. In 2013, 20% of Florida’s population did not have health insurance, the third highest rate in the nation. While the share of uninsured Floridians fell to 16.6% in 2014, it remained the third least insured state in the country.

38. Oklahoma
> Median household income:
$47,529
> Population: 3,878,051 (23rd lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.5% (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.6% (14th highest)

The standard of living among Oklahomans improved little last year as the state’s median household income remained unchanged from 2013. Oklahoma’s poverty rate was 16.6% last year, the 14th highest rate, and the typical household earned $47,529, well below the national median income of $53,657. Lower incomes tend to lower the value of homes in an area. Nearly 16% of homes were valued at less than $50,000, the eighth highest share in the country of homes valued so low.

37. Idaho
> Median household income:
$47,861
> Population: 1,634,464 (12th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.8% (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.8% (25th highest)

Idaho’s median household income in 2014 hardly changed from 2013, reflecting little improvement in its residents’ standard of living. The typical Idaho household earned $47,861 last year, well below the national median of $53,657. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low. At just $165,300, the typical home in Idaho was worth about $15,000 less than the median American home value of $181,200. Low incomes are often the result of low levels of education. Though nine in 10 Idaho residents completed high school, a higher share than the 86.9% of Americans who had, only a quarter of adults in the state had a bachelor’s degree as of last year, one of the lowest attainment rates in the country.

36. Missouri
> Median household income:
$48,363
> Population: 6,063,589 (18th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.1% (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.5% (21st highest)

Missouri’s median household income increased by $833 from 2013 to $48,363, but still remained below the nationwide median income of $53,657. However, state residents may be better off than their income suggests. The cost of living in the state was more than 10% less expensive than across the country. Statewide, homes were valued relatively low at just $138,500, or more than $40,000 below the national benchmark of $181,200. Low incomes may be due to low levels of education. In fact, 27.5% of adults in Missouri had at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year, lower than the 30.1% of adults who had at least a bachelor’s degree nationwide.